President Donald Trump recently announced a revised travel ban, blocking immigration from six Muslim-majority countries. Contrary to Trump’s original executive order in January, Iraq is not included on the list of banned countries. The original executive order was met with widespread turmoil and pandemonium as immigrants, even those with green cards, were stuck in airports fighting legal battles to gain entry into the United States. The order was soon suspended by a federal court in a 3-0 ruling. Trump, as per usual, quickly responded to the court’s ruling via Twitter, where he exclaimed this:
SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 9 februari 2017
According to an administration fact sheet, Iraq is said to: “increase cooperation with the U.S. government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States.” The order also states lawful permanent residents and those with valid visas are exempt from the travel ban, according to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
The new travel ban applies to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Officials from Iraq and the United States have discussed vetting measures to prevent suspected Iraqi terrorists from entering the United States. Donald Trump spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in early February, which was then followed by an in-person meeting between Mike Pence and Haider al-Abadi in Munich later that month.
White House officials have emphasized that the travel ban does not focus on any religion, in particular, stating it is “not any way targeted as a Muslim ban…we want to make sure everyone understands that,” despite the fact that the ban applies to Muslim-majority countries. The ban on refugees, however, no longer specifies any particular religion or nation. Under the new order, all refugees are precluded from entering the U.S. for 120 days, whereas the original order banned Syrian refugees indefinitely.
The new order will take effect on March 16, and, as with the first travel ban, organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union plan to fight it.